Do you have a dream of selling an app you designed? Maybe you want to publish a book about web design? Maybe you’d like to turn your freelancing design business into a full-fledged agency?
What’s the biggest obstacle to your taking the next big step towards your dreams?
Often the obstacle to following your career dreams is money. It can take money to really develop a good business idea and make it a reality. Sometimes it takes a lot of money.
Finding money for a startup or a new venture used to be hard. Either you had to convince a bank to loan you money, you had to find an investor, or you had to finance your idea yourself.
Fortunately, there’s another way to obtain funding for your dream.
While it’s still a lot of work, many entrepreneurs are making use of crowdfunding sites. Crowdfunding sites allow a large number of people to contribute small amounts towards a project.
In this post, I list sixteen crowdfunding sites for web designers and other freelancers with a dream.
List of Crowdfunding Sites
If you’re looking for funding for your idea, here is a list of crowdfunding sites you may want to check out (in alphabetical order):
- Appbackr. This crowdfunding site reaches out to the developers of mobile phone apps. There are two parts to the site. Xchange is the portion of the site that allows developers to market their apps wholesale. Marketplace lets developers can obtain crowdfunding for their apps.
- Appsfundr. This international site also provides crowdfunding for app developers. Developers can also pitch their app to industry experts from this site. The site partners with a marketplace where developers can buy and sell code.
- Appsplit. This site actually offers three different services to app developers: crowdfunding, a marketplace where apps can be sold, and a way to connect to talented developers.
- Bolstr. This crowdfunding site allows investors to support small businesses in their communities. Businesses must be approved to participate. The site also includes a network of attorneys to help small businesses with the legal issues and regulations associated with starting a business.
- Crowdcube. The British-based equity crowdfunding site was founded in 2010 and features businesses in the UK. It offers ordinary people a chance to invest in new businesses. The site also points out the risks of crowdfunding.
- Crowdfunder. This site connects entrepreneurs with investors in exchange for equity. Crowdfunder also sponsors live events. According statistics on the site, they have over 29,000 investors and over 1,000 companies registered.
- CrowdTilt. This site enables participates to group fund a variety of projects, including fundraisers for non-profits. The site recently announced a mobile app so that participants can launch a campaign from their phone.
- FanBlaze. This new crowdfunding site is aimed at the creative market. It connects creative individuals like artists and entertainers with their financial supporters. There’s also a game-like element for supporters, who can earn points for prizes and also be named a top fan.
- Fundable. Participants using crowdfunding on this site can choose to offer equity or rewards to their investors. Fundraisers pay a $99 flat fee each month, but the site does not charge a percentage of the amount raised.
- GoFundMe. This site is not just for business ventures. It allows you to find almost anything, ranging from business concerns to weddings. If you need to raise money for a non-business related venture, this may be the site for you.
- IndieGoGo. This international site started serving the film industry in 2008, but was expanded in 2009 to include projects from all industries and even from nonprofits. Campaigns can run for up to 60 days.
- Kickstarter. This crowdfunding site launched in 2009. It is geared to filmmakers, musicians, artists, designers, and others. However, it does not allow charity fundraising. Fundraisers must be in the U.S. or the UK.
- PeerBackers. Your campaign must be reviewed and approved before you can use this site to raise funds. It’s geared towards business startups. It does not allow backers to own equity in a project, but rather requires fundraisers to provide a reward such as a tee shirt or even the product itself in exchange for their support.
- RocketHub. The crowdfunding site has partnered with the Project Startup television show on the A&E channel. Entrepreneurs who raise money through this site have a chance of being selected for the show. The site also features a series of videos to educate those who are new to crowdfunding.
- Seedrs. This UK-based crowdfunding site is targeted to entrepreneurs and other small businesses. Investors do receive a return on their investment if the enterprise is successful, however copy on the site is quick to point out the risks involved.
- Upstart. This very unique crowdfunding site helps recent college graduates (called upstarts on the site) get a professional start. Upsarts who participate must share a percentage of their annual income (up to 7% ) with their backers for a period of up to ten years (paid in monthly installments). Could this be one way to pay back those student loans?
Other Things You Need to Know
Most crowdfunding sites are in business to make a profit. For that reason, the crowdfunding site may take a percentage of the money you raise (sometimes even if you didn’t meet your goal) or charge you a fee to start a campaign. You may also be charged payment processing fees. Each crowdfunding site has different terms of service, so make sure you read the terms of any site you choose to use. .
Some crowdfunding sites require that you provide equity (partial ownership) to investors or offer investors a return on their investment. In the United States, equity investors must be accredited.
The crowdfunding site may also place a limit on the number of days that your campaign can be active.
Finally, it’s up to you to promote your crowdfunding campaign. This can mean a lot of hard work. You may need to do any or all of the following (depending on your campaign):
- Create a profile on the crowdfunding site
- Share your campaign through social media
- Blog about your campaign
- Take pictures of your idea or creating images to share on the site
- Create a video pitch for your campaign
- Update your campaign profile frequently
- Create or purchase premiums (like tee shirts) to give to your backers
Do you still have questions about crowdfunding?
Here are two more helpful resources:
- Eric Markowitz recently published a fun infographic on Inc. to help you choose a crowdfunding site based on your need. The infographic lists 22 different crowdfunding sites, although some may not be of interest to web designers or freelancers.
- Chance Barnett explains how the SEC rules relate to crowdfunding in his post, SEC Finally Moves On Equity Crowdfunding, Phase 1, on Forbes. Chance is the CEO of the crowdfunding site, Crowdfunder.